Financial Stress: The Link Between Money And Mental Health
The causes of mental health issues are complex and varied. Some people may suffer from depression after losing a loved one or witnessing a traumatic event, whilst others can experience anxiety for seemingly no reason at all. The mind is an incredibly intricate mechanism we’re still learning to understand.
One trigger for mental health issues that is well-known, though, is financial stress. If you think your bank balance could be affecting your well-being, you’re not alone! Let’s dive into the link between money and mental health and look at some coping mechanisms for when your finances overwhelm you.
Can Financial Stress Affect Mental Health?
Over 1.5 million people in England are currently experiencing problems with both debt and mental health. It’s incredibly common for the two to be interlinked, with money issues often leading to a decline in mental wellbeing.
The burden of financial strain is tough on the mind, with many triggers causing increased stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression. For example, some people may find receiving letters causes them severe anxiety as they dread finding financial statements or debt collection reminders. Others may find that viewing their spending or bank balance creates feelings of depression. Almost 40% of people between 40 and 50 lose sleep over finances, which can lead to a whole host of mental health problems, and many people feel isolated when they can’t participate in social events due to a lack of money.
All of these are examples of financial stress affecting well-being, but they’re just a handful. There are countless other ways that people find their money impacts their mental health, creating a whole host of problems.
But what about the other way around? It’s clear that financial stress can impact mental health, but can mental health impact financial stress?
Mental Health Issues Can Cause Financial Stress
Unfortunately, the pattern does go both ways. Those suffering from mental health issues can often lose track of and become overwhelmed by their financial situation. A lack of good stress management caused by their mental health leads to a range of financial triggers creating huge emotional responses. So, a vicious cycle begins: your mental health makes you unable to deal with your finances, which increases your financial stress, which creates more mental health problems.
For example, people who suffer from depression often struggle to find the motivation to deal with their finances. Those with anxiety may see their finances as a trigger, whilst those with mania may find themselves making impulsive decisions about spending that they later regret. The fact that people with mental health problems are three and a half times more likely to be in debt than those without shows just how debilitating these issues can be.
Why Does Mental Health Lead To More Debt?
When looking at the link between money and mental health, you can’t ignore the impact that well-being can have on finances. The gap between earnings for those with mental health problems and those without is large, and sometimes people with depression, PTSD, anxiety etc. simply can’t work.
When they don’t have the income to sustain a safe, healthy life, their financial situation becomes worse. Again, this becomes a vicious cycle that’s incredibly hard to break out of, with many ending up in deep financial trouble.
Understand Your Responses To Finances
Fortunately, there is plenty of hope for people suffering from mental health and financial stress. By understanding your own emotional relationship with money, you can better grasp what’s going on. Do you:
- Feel overwhelmed looking at your bank balance?
- Avoid opening letters or answering phone calls to do with your finances?
- Impulsively spend money and later regret it?
- Feel ashamed of your financial situation but struggle to ask for help?
Feelings of guilt, stress, anxiety, fear and fatigue are all signs that your financial situation could be affecting your mental health - or the other way around. Once you identify that you might have an issue, you can start to take steps to address it. Let’s take a look at some of these now.
1. Speak To Someone You Trust
As with so many mental health concerns, speaking to someone is vital. Make sure you confide in someone you trust, explaining how your financial situation impacts your mental health. They can then help you to find financial support, go through your finances with you, or simply be someone who can listen when your money is getting you down.
2. Speak To A Financial Advisor
Financial advisors are the superhumans of the money world! By teaching you how to manage your money, sorting your finances, and helping you get out of financial trouble, they can relieve your stress and get you back on your feet.
3. Address Your Mental Health
If your mental health is taking a toll on your finances, you must address the cause before the consequence. Reach out to a GP or therapist who can begin the process of improving your mental health. Stress management could also aid in controlling your emotional responses, taking the pain away from dealing with your finances.
The link between money and mental health is clear, but it doesn’t mean that you have to suffer. By finding support using the methods in this article, you can take control of your bank balance and your mind, turning money into something you feel confident in dealing with.